With the fall semester fast approaching and many students planning their return (or first-time trip) to Los Angeles, many are eager to explore all of the great things the city has to offer. There are several places I highly recommend visiting in your first year at USC to get the true Los Angeles experience. Even if you have been to LA before, I recommend seeing these places before you graduate! I have listed eight of these destinations below, along with instructions on how to get there using public transportation if you are new to the city and don’t have a car.
The Getty Center
The Getty Museum houses one of the most impressive collections of American and European art and sculptures in all of California. It is celebrated not only for its art but also for its beautiful gardens and view overlooking downtown Los Angeles. To get to the Getty from USC, one can take the Expo Line from USC to the Santa Monica Station and then board bus 234 to the Getty Center.
2. Griffith Park
Griffith Park hosts a variety of fun activities, most of which are free of charge. The Griffith Observatory overlooks the entire city of Los Angeles, has live shows, one of the best public telescopes on the West Coast, views of the Hollywood sign, and much more. From USC, you can take Bus 204 to the DASH Observatory Bus to get there.
3. Santa Monica Pier
The Santa Monica Pier is the pinnacle of Southern California beach culture and a must-visit location as a USC student. The pier has a small amusement park, a variety of shops and restaurants, and a strong street culture presence. To get to Santa Monica Pier from USC, board the Expo Line and ride it to the end of the line.
Pink’s is an iconic hot dog restaurant near Melrose Avenue that has existed since 1939. Pink’s has been featured in movies, TV shows, and books. Pink’s is a Treasure of Los Angeles and serves over fifty-thousand pounds of hot dogs per year. To get to Pink’s from USC, you can take Bus 200 to Bus 10.
For many people, quarantine has made it difficult to establish a regular routine that resembles a normal lifestyle. This can lead many of us, myself included, to feel overwhelmed by work. Finding time to spend in nature is of the utmost importance, but depending on where you live, it can be difficult to incorporate time outdoors into your everyday schedule. Two ALI Conversation Partners, Alyssa Delarosa and Elizabeth Goodman, reflect on ways to get outside during quarantine and list places to visit in Los Angeles that provide some peace and respite from Zoom and online classes.
-Natalie Grace Sipula, Editor
[7 minute read]
THE IMPORTANCE OF OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES DURING QUARANTINE
By Alyssa Delarosa
During this time of quarantine where zoom calls, Netflix binges, and a non-existent sleep schedule threaten to take over our lives, there are many wonderful resources and guides on activities to keep us busy on the internet. Some of these resources recommend completing at-home workouts, recipes, meditation, and other hobbies that are beneficial for your mental health. Out of all these wonderful resources and guides, I want to specifically highlight sources that encourage outdoor activities, as I believe that outdoor activities are vital to our mental health, physical health, and general well-being.
While there are plenty of activities to do indoors that can prove very effective for our mental and physical health, we are doing these activities in the exact same environment each time.At the start of quarantine this was not necessarily a bad thing, but in the long-run this practice can prove somewhat damaging for our mental health. We are being constantly exposed to the same environment for hours and days on end, which can have a “prison-like” effect on our minds and make us feel trapped and gradually begin to lose interest in finding meaning and enjoyment in our lives. This is why I do not simply recommend outdoor activities, I strongly encourage them as a necessity.
The complete and total change of scenery that outdoor activities provide can be blissful beyond imagination. I currently reside in Ventura, California (a rural beach town about an hour North of the USC campus) and I am always sure to allot some time to make the ten minute drive to the beach, where I can spend the whole day surfing, walking, or merely observing the beauty around me. I often find myself standing in complete awe with my feet in the sand, the wind caressing my cheek, the sound of the waves swelling and breaking, and the smell of the salt in the air. The restlessness I may feel indoors does not matter as long as I escape the clutches of my house and run into the embrace of nature.
When you’re done reading this, I want you to go to your calendar or planner, digital or physical, and start marking the time(s) within your schedule that you are able to engage in any outdoor activities. It does not matter your location; the main objective here is to simply get outside! If you live in the city, this could look like simply taking a walk in the streets nearby your house or apartment. You also do not necessarily need to leave your home or dorm area, as you can relax with a good book in hand on your porch, patio, balcony, or any other accessible outdoor area.
The USC campus itself is a beautiful place to take walks outdoors, with numerous parks located on campus such as Alumni Park and the EF Hutton Park. If you do not live near or on USC campus and do not have access to any parks or trails, keep in mind that the objective is to simply produce a short change in your environment so when you leave your everyday desk and living space, you can re-enter more recharged and refreshed than you were when you left.
Just because we’re in quarantine does not mean that life has to lose color, meaning, and enjoyment. Exchanging our daily home scenery for the beauty outside can help encourage all of us to live happier lives. One day our lives will resume but in the meanwhile, let’s appreciate the time we have now and continue to live and thrive in the nature surrounding us.
FOUR OF THE BEST PANORAMIC VIEWS OF LOS ANGELES
By Elizabeth Goodman
From the skylines of Downtown and Century City, to the Santa Monica Mountains, to the sparkling Pacific Ocean, the views from atop the city of Los Angeles are hard to beat. When city life, crowds, and traffic get you down, take some time to rejuvenate by visiting some of LA’s most breathtaking panoramic views without a long hike. Here are some of my favorite scenic views from various lookouts in LA, all of which are accessible to students and most of which are free (although you might have to pay for parking if you drive). All of these outdoor spots also provide a great escape for anyone seeking some time outdoors during quarantine! Go on your own or with a friend for a socially distanced hike to a great view.
“Top of the World” – Pacific Palisades
This lookout in Pacific Palisades has rightly earned its name with views that stretch from Downtown Los Angeles to the left, to Catalina Island on the right. It is unique to be able to see where the sand meets the sea while enjoying the immediate surrounding greenery and mountains. An easy less-than-five-minute walk after parking will lead you to this stunning view, and there are many other hiking trails to explore in this area if you want to spend more time here.
Penthouse at the Huntley Hotel– Santa Monica
Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the restaurant at the top floor of the Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica offers an unparalleled dining experience. The rooftop on the 18th floor boasts a panoramic ocean view from every table in the restaurant. Between the gourmet cuisine and superb view, this is an exclusive experience you won’t want to miss out on. Note that this restaurant is currently closed due to recent quarantine mandates, but when restaurants begin reopening, be sure to include this one on your bucket list!
While San Diego may be best known for its beaches or attractions such as Sea World, as a native, I know that there are several other less-known opportunities that anyone can enjoy. San Diego is probably best known for its beaches, including the beaches in La Jolla, Coronado, Oceanside, or Moonlight Beach, and in addition to the multitudes of beaches, you may have also heard of San Diego’s many feature attractions such as Sea World, the Safari Park, or Legoland. What you may not have heard of, however, are many of the other features of my beautiful hometown.
If you are a nature enthusiast, there are several opportunities throughout various parts of San Diego. For hiking, there are several locations around San Diego of varying length and difficulty, all with beautiful greenery. Some of these locations include the Torrey Pines trail in Torrey Pines (known as a relatively easy hike with two trails approximately a mile each) and the multitude of hiking trails in Poway, a subcommunity of San Diego, specifically the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve (known for its native plants and wildlife, and is also a relatively easy hike).
Alternatively, if you are more into the bar or club scene, the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown is a good place to go. With at least 16 clubs and restaurants there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the beautiful atmosphere of the city. On a side note to this interest though, if you are interested in a day-time version of this activity, San Diego is also well known for its vineyards, are there are plenty of opportunities to visit and attend wine tastings (I personally recommend the Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo or any of the vineyards in the nearby area of Temecula).
There is also the opportunity to see many parts of San Diego’s history in downtown in Little Italy or in many of the available historical sites such as the USS Midway, Balboa Park. I highly recommend Balboa Park. As the host to various exhibits throughout the year in its in-house museums (including San Diego’s Natural History Museum), and also some of the best gardens, Balboa Park is a wonderful place to spend a day exploring and enjoying the sunny warm weather typical for San Diego.
All in all, San Diego is a very diverse city, with much to offer anyone who is interested and I am proud to call it home. Happy traveling!